World no. 6 Alexander Zverev has been the player to beat so far at China Open in Beijing, defeating Sam Querrey 7-6, 6-2 in an hour and 12 minutes for the fourth semi-final of the season. Zverev won their previous clash at the Laver Cup in 2017 and stood strong today as well, losing 14 points in his games and fending off the only break chance he faced, forcing Querrey to match those numbers if he wanted to stay competitive.
Nothing could separate them in the first set and once Alexander grabbed a tie break he never looked back, scoring two breaks in set number two and advancing into the semis. The German had 22 winners and eight unforced errors while the American delivered 27 winners and 29 mistakes, losing ground after the opener and ending his run in the quarter-final.
Zverev landed an ace to fend off a break point in game six, wasting his opportunity at 5-5 but standing strong in the tie break, moving 3-2 up after a double fault from Sam and extending the advantage with two winners. Querrey netted a backhand in the tenth point to hand the set to the German who barely lost a point on serve in set number two, waiting for a chance on the return and seizing it in the sixth point when Sam netted a forehand.
Zverev sealed the deal with another break at 5-2 and will now face Stefanos Tsitsipas in the battle for the place in the final. The 3rd seed from Greece toppled another American John Isner 7-6, 6-3 in an hour and 13 minutes, serving well and earning one break that carried him over the finish line.
The returners claimed only 24 points, with three break chances overall and that single break that John suffered at the beginning of the second set, which proved to be the crucial moment of the entire match. Tsitsipas landed 25 winners and seven unforced errors, leaving John on a 26-17 ratio and taking the essential points to book the place in the semi-final, his first since Washington.
Servers experienced no problems in the first set, with no break chances or deuces in any of 12 games, setting up a tie break after 35 minutes that Stefanos kicked off with a beautiful backhand crosscourt winner for an early mini-break.
The youngster fired another backhand winner at 5-3 and closed the set in the next point with a service winner. John had the opportunity to turn the things around in set number two, wasting a break point in the first game and getting broken in the very next game after a loose forehand that sealed his fate in this match.
Stefanos delivered four impressive holds and secured the victory with three winners to set that thrilling clash against Alexander Zverev on Saturday. In the battle of the London contenders, Karen Khachanov took down Fabio Fognini 3-6, 6-3, 6-1 in an hour and 46 minutes, taking three points more than his rival and dominating in the decider for only the second semi-final of the season.
The Russian gave serve away twice in the opening set and shifted into a higher gear after that to leave Fognini behind and march over the finish line, earning five breaks that forged the win for him. Khachanov seized the second set with a break at 3-2 and it was all about him in the decider, dropping three points in his games and pushing hard on the return to grab three breaks and advance into the last four.